by Disney Magic Diva
You’ve researched and saved for months. Every detail is planned. FastPass+ scheduled. Advance Dining Reservations made. Autograph books ready and matching family t-shirts are laid out and ready to go. You’ve arrived at Walt Disney World Resort, checked into the perfect resort room, and can’t wait to begin your long-awaited vacation. Things are going just as you imagined, and the days begin to fly by. Then one morning someone wakes up feeling a little less than magical. What do you do?
On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, my son developed all the symptoms of strep throat. Since it was less than 48 hours before he was scheduled to participate in a runDisney race, we had to get him healthy – and quickly! We were staying on property and had flown to Florida, so we didn’t have a car. We needed a medical facility and transportation. But we weren’t sure of our best options. Taxi? Uber? Well, when in doubt, ask a cast member!
We checked with the front desk of our resort, and were referred to Centra Care, a Florida Hospital Urgent Care. The cast members were able to give us a brochure with contact information to the clinic, and after a quick phone call and we were able to make arrangements to have my son seen by a doctor. The brochure listed four Centra Care locations, all open 7 days a week from at least 8:00am-8:00pm weekdays and 8:00am-5:00pm weekends. One location had longer hours: open until midnight weekdays and 8:00pm weekends. The clinic provides complimentary transportation from your resort to its office. We simply had to go to the front of the resort (where the Magical Express drops off and picks up guests), and wait for the red and blue van to arrive. They had advised it would be about a 20 minute wait, but we waited slightly longer. The van goes to multiple resorts to pick-up other patients, so be prepared to wait a bit for your ride.
TIP: If you need a car seat, just mention it when you arrange for the van. Our van had a car-seat already buckled in and ready for a little prince or princess. The van was also equipped with surgical masks if you wanted. Considering you are in a closed space with ill people, this was a welcome sight! Don’t hesitate to ask to use one.
It was about a 10 minute ride to the clinic. When we arrived (about 9:00 am on a Thursday) there were about a half-dozen other patients waiting. After filling out all the paperwork, the staff advised that based on our insurance, the entire cost ($187) would be charged to the deductible. This was what we expected, and even though it wasn’t a planned expense, it was not unreasonable based on what we would have paid at home for a similar urgent care visit, especially considering it included round-trip transportation.
The waiting room had a separate area for toddlers, complete with small play tables and Disney Junior on the television. We are in Orlando, after all! The main waiting area had ample seating and a separate television. We waited about 20 minutes for the doctor.
While the clinic has an on-site pharmacy, they did not have the medication we needed in stock. Fortunately, there is a Target across the street, and so we were advised to walk over there to get the prescription. It was a little bit of a walk, across a busy highway, but there were crosswalks. Of course, if you’re not feeling well, it seemed quite a bit further.
Disney Diva TIP: While at Target, you can take the opportunity to get any other essentials you may need to help you recover. You also have a chance to grab any snacks or beverages your family might enjoy back at the resort.
Once the prescription was ready, we called the clinic and they sent the van back over to Target for us. No need to walk back across the busy highway! The van took us back to our resort, where thankfully my son was able to rest the remainder of the day and feel well enough to complete his race that weekend.
So, as you’re planning that perfect trip, don’t forget to plan for the unexpected. Disney Diva’s article about what to bring and how to prepare for (and more importantly prevent) illness while at Disney World has some great tips. But if all the planning and prevention don’t work, it’s good to know there is a fairly easy way to receive a doctor’s care. Because the only Doc you really want to see while at Walt Disney World Resort is the one riding the Mine Train with a beautiful princess and six dwarfs.